Celebrating the union of body and soul, the International Day of Yoga could be the day that kickstarts a healthy new habit

The annual event was declared by the United Nations in 2015. Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice which originated in ancient India. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his United Nations address in 2014, suggested an annual Day of Yoga on June 21.

In recognition of the global significance of yoga, the Indian Consulate in Durban and the Sivananda World Peace Foundation will host different yoga day events in Durban to celebrate the ancient practice.

This event brings people of all ages, backgrounds, and nationalities together to participate in yoga and meditation sessions, breathing exercises and cultural performances.The Sivananda World Peace Foundation will host yoga day today at Durban's Amphitheatre at north beach from 8.30am, while the Indian Consulate will celebrate the day with yoga at People's Park at Moses Mabhida Stadium at 9am on Wednesday.

 Dr Thelma John David, India’s Consul-General in Durban, said this year's hosting of yoga day is in keeping with their theme of ‘One earth, one family and one future’."Everyone will come together globally on Wednesday to celebrate an ancient gift of India. We are hopeful that this would be a special occasion for the youth to partner with us and do yoga. Covid-19 has made people realise that yoga is not just an Indian art but a gift to humanity. 

Yoga has a set of asanas (physical postures) and pranayamas (breathing techniques) which help to connect both the body and the mind."It is a spiritual and cultural practice which will enrich everyone to be more mindful, be more moderate and disciplined in our activities. We hope it will help with the stresses of modern day life. 

We feel this will be part of the larger canvas of people adapting their lifestyle to the environment and being moderate in how we use our resources. We are working towards a change in mindset and lifestyle."People have realised the benefits of traditional practices and methods in modern life. Covid brought home the fact that we need not only medicine, but mental peace. Yoga is no longer just a physical activity. What we do in our lives interconnects with our mental peace, how we treat the world and how we interact with each other. 

Yoga connects the body, soul and mind together," said David.David said they have hosted a number of run-up events with schools, colleges and communities. Last week the crew from the Indian Navy Ship Trishul together with the South African Navy participated in a special yoga event.She said they were expecting a large participation."There will be cultural entertainment on the day and stalls offering millet. 

There will be Ayurveda products and Indian food stalls offering vegetarian delicacies," said David.Ishwar Ramlutchman, of the Sivananda World Peace Foundation, said the objective of celebrating the International Day of Yoga is to create awareness about yoga and how it benefits everyone in better understanding the significance of traditional and authentic yoga techniques.

He said for the past six months they had been to schools and various communities across the province to highlight the benefits of yoga to children and the community at large."Yoga is a source of inspiration that binds us all as a nation. 

It teaches us to remain calm through turbulent times. We wish all the participants and members of the community to join hands in using yoga as a medium to promote unity in diversity in our beautiful province, KwaZulu-Natal.

"Yoga is essentially a discipline which also brings harmony in all walks of life, and thus is known for disease prevention, health promotion and management of many lifestyle-related disorders," said Ramlutchman.

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